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VPM Daily Newscast: January 13, 2022

VPM's daily newscast contains all your Central Virginia news in just 5 to 10 minutes. Episodes are recorded the night before so you can wake up prepared.           

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Here’s a recap of the top stories on the morning of Thursday, January 13, 2022 

  • The Virginia General Assembly kicked off its work yesterday. This year, Republicans have a slim majority in the House of Delegates, and Democrats have a slim majority in the state Senate. Megan Pauly reports on a few big priorities for leadership in each chamber. 

  • Governor Ralph Northam gave his final speech before lawmakers and Virginians last night. He highlighted some of the things he was proudest to accomplish during his four years as the state’s chief executive, including abolishing the death penalty and legalizing marijuana use. Virginia Republicans were critical of many of the criminal justice reforms the previous Democratic majority, and Governor Northam, led over the past few years, saying the policy changes make Virginians less safe. Read more about what GOP leaders said last night at vpm.org/general-assembly

  • Democrat Jackie Glass won the special election for Norfolk’s 89th House District seat. Early Tuesday night, the Navy veteran led her Republican opponent by more than 60 percentage points. According to partner station WHRO, Democrats held onto the delegate’s seat they’ve controlled for several decades. The seat was vacated in December, when Jay Jones announced he was stepping down a month after winning reelection. 

  • One candidate running for office is shifting their sights from a national position to a state seat. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Republican Tina Ramirez is abandoning a bid for Virginia’s newly redrawn 7th Congressional district against incumbent Democrat Abigail Spanberger to campaign for the 12th state Senate district. The change could put her in a primary face-off against state Senator Amanda Chase, who also recently abandoned a run for the 7th District. Ramirez is a former public school teacher, and founded a non-profit to promote religious freedom.   

  • An assisted living facility where two residents died surrendered its state license. Paul Bibeau from partner station WHRO has more. 

  • Six out of Virginia’s 24 community colleges will start the semester with remote learning due to the spike of COVID-19 cases, according to the system’s spokesperson. This includes Brightpoint Community College, formerly known as John Tyler. Brightpoint school officials told students yesterday that classes and services will be virtual from January 18th through 29th. Select computer labs will be open at both their Chester and Midlothian campuses for those who need internet access or a quiet place to work. In addition, libraries and academic resource centers will also be open. But officials say staff will be limited.  

  • With lawmakers back in Richmond, VPM is taking a special look at different political issues affecting our community through a new series we’re calling “Capitol in Focus.” Earlier this week, Governor-Elect Glenn Youngkin sat down with VPM News reporter Keyris Manzanares. During their conversation, Youngkin was asked about his controversial pick for Virginia’s Secretary of Natural Resources, Andrew Wheeler. Wheeler served as the head of the EPA under then-President Donald Trump and rolled back environmental protections from the Obama administration.